October 20, 2022
A 3-meter-long wooden coffin lid was returned to Egypt from the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences after it was proven that it was smuggled illegally outside of the country.
The wooden coffin belongs to a priest called Ankh-en-Maat and dates to the Late Period. The piece has been referred to as the “Green Coffin” since its face is colored green, a symbol of rebirth and resurrection in ancient Egypt. The rest of the lid is decorated with columns of hieroglyphic texts colored in gold.
The piece was smuggled from Abusir al Malaq in the north of Egypt and then appeared in the possession of Simon Simonian in Switzerland. It was then trafficked to the United States in 2008 and was sold to a private collector, who loaned the coffin to the Michael C. Carolos Museum at Emory University. In 2013, it was sent on loan to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences.